Adaptation to climate change in coastal areas of the ECA Region: A contribution to the Umbrella Report on adaptation to climate change in ECA

This working paper analyzes the vulnerability and adaptive options of coastal areas in Europe and Central Asia (ECA), with a particular focus on rising sea levels and exposure and sensitivity on coastlines of the Baltic, Caspian, Mediterranean and Arctic seas. It contributes to the building of knowledge on climate change in the future, its likely impacts and possible adaptation measures across the region. Coastal areas have been centers of human activity throughout history and current trends indicate that migration toward these zones is continuing. The main reason for this is that the rich variety of ecosystems and habitats in coastal zones provides a range of goods and services critical to human sustenance and well-being, particularly food production (e.g. fisheries and aquaculture), raw materials, and transportation options. Coastal areas provide also other ecological and socioeconomic services with deep interrelations between them: erosion control of land and intertidal ecosystems (e.g. wetlands and salt marshes), storm protection, water purification, nutrient recycling, and recreation (tourism). Due to their unique location, coastal areas are also at the receiving end of impacts coming both from the sea and from the land. This exposes coastal areas to the influences of climate change either directly (sea-level-rise, storm surges, floods, droughts) or indirectly through events that originate off-site but whose consequences propagate down to the coasts (river floods and changes in seasonality, pulses, quality of run-off).